Ashton Kutcher’s brother, Michael Kutcher, didn’t get to tell the world he had cerebral palsy on his own terms--but now, he’s grateful for the opportunity to be himself.
It was almost two decades ago that Ashton shared on national TV that his twin brother has cerebral palsy. At the time, Michael was mortified, because he had spent most of his life trying to hide the disorder, which impacts his vision, speech, hearing, and the mobility in his right hand.
“I was very angry. Very angry. I remember speaking to him about it,” the 43-year-old told TODAY Parents this week. “I didn’t want to be the face of CP. I never talked about it.”
Now, more than 17 years later, Michael is no longer angry with Ashton. Instead, he’s grateful for the 2003 interview that changed the trajectory of his life forever.
“Chris [as Ashton’s family and old hometown friends in Iowa refer to him] did me the biggest favor he’s ever done because he allowed me to be myself,” Michael explained.
A few months after Ashton’s big reveal, Michael received a call from a woman in Iowa asking him if he would be open to speaking at a gala about his life with cerebral palsy. While he wasn’t sure he was ready to share in front of a room full of strangers, he agreed to meet her for a cup of coffee.
“She had her 5-year-old daughter with her. A sweet little girl named Bella with a smile so bright and big,” Michael recalled. “Her cerebral palsy was quite severe and she couldn’t talk.”
When he got home, Michael couldn’t stop thinking about Bella, which led to his decision to be more open about his condition.
“I realized I needed to let go of the shame I felt and be a champion for people like Bella,” he said. “I was finally ready to tell my story and I knew because of my twin, I‘d have a big reach.”
Michael got diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was 3 years old, after his mother noticed differenced between him and his twin brother.
“My mom noticed I was having developmental difficulties and not advancing like my twin was,” he revealed. “So she began taking me to doctors.”
Now, all of these years later, Michael is proud of the man he’s become.
“I love who I am. I love the impact I’ve been able to make, the people I’ve been able to touch,” he said. “And I wouldn’t have been able to do that If I didn’t have these obstacles, or as I like to call them — an opportunity.”